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6 November 2015 5 comments

Gorge yourself on junk miles

Correspondence Friends Monthly highlights Travel & Adventure Cycling
By Juliet Elliott
Gorge yourself on junk miles
Over the last couple of months I’ve picked up a few cycling magazines down at the shops, several of which contain winter training plans, advice for getting fitter and answers to some commonly asked questions such as ‘why aren’t I getting faster?’ In many cases the wisdom dispensed includes the line ‘ditch the junk miles,’ which got me thinking, just what are these terrible junk miles I keep hearing of, and should I be worried? Are they addictive and pleasurable yet somewhat shameful and bad for my health, the cycling equivalent of gorging on cola, quarter-pounders, pizza and hot dogs? Should I be careful I don’t become hooked? In case you haven’t heard of junk miles, the term is generally used to refer to any time you spend on the bike that is not purposeful, so miles that are neither a recovery ride, a high intensity ride, nor an endurance ride or similar would be deemed junk, and either not worthy of your time, or down right bad for you if progression is what you’re after. But here’s the thing, I think the rides that fall outside a training plan are every bit as important and purposeful as those deemed useful in a straight up athletic or scientific sense. Each and every one of my miles is extremely important in its own unique way, so rather than junk, could these (at first glance) random and superfluous miles actually be the cycling equivalent of a superfood? Maybe my junk miles are actually nothing but, instead delivering a high dose of virtual nutrients that are actually vital to my wellbeing. So what are my rides if not junk? Sanity miles are perhaps the most important. These are the ones that serve no other person than to keep me functioning as a decent human being with calm and rational thoughts! Next up are social miles. Very important to the health if you live in a small village in Devon and work from home, these banter filled excursions fulfill a very basic need; that of friendship, community and inter person exchange. Siesta miles give me a little boost, and having tried both, are much more effective than a post lunch power nap. Of course, there are sunshine miles, snapped up purely to take advantage of the sun’s rays and top up on Vitamin D whilst feeling that England is a truly lovely place. Next on the list; marriage saving miles. Absolutely vital when I sense myself becoming slightly unreasonable, some crushingly fast marriage saving miles deliver me back home good as new with a happy and calm demeanor. There are cake miles, whose only purpose is to give me enough of an appetite to justify devouring an extra large wedge of Victoria Sandwich when I’ve not actually done much since lunchtime. Idea miles serve a very useful purpose when my creative juices have dried up, liberating my mind to dream of new features to write about. Procrastination miles are handy if there’s a huge pile of boring housework to do… Often taken off-road, exploratory miles add to my bank of routes, giving me a greater connection with my local area and a way of getting extremely muddy whilst not getting anywhere very quickly or efficiently. But of course the absolutely best rides are simply fun miles, enjoyed on any kind of bike anywhere in pursuit of a smile and just for the sheer childish hell of it. Guilt free, amazing for you with absolutely not ‘buts,’ fun miles are vital, super and deliver bang for your buck - the polar opposite of junk food and much more like blueberries or broccoli or whatever the supposed experts have deemed ‘super’ this month. So go ahead and gorge yourself, and enjoy every mile! Juliet Elliott
In Canada we are not allowed to have "Junk Miles" since we have long ago gone to the Metric System. Junk Kilometers just takes too long to say. Have to ride to the store now, I am out of junk beer.
Bill 23 May 2016 at 18:40
I know these great type of bars for riding, so - Handlebar Miles.
Stephen 23 May 2016 at 18:40
Not everyone is racing; sometimes the joy is being on the bike and just kind of wandering where the road takes you.
Bruce Thomas 23 May 2016 at 18:40
Junk miles are essential to my life too! Without them in copious amounts, I would become a mindless drone. (My wife's opinion may vary); Ha! Thanks for the support!

John, The Almost Magnificent in Arizona
John Welch 23 May 2016 at 18:40
Well written Jullet. Very well written. I do believe that not every mile on the bike needs to be a training mile. My personal fav are the am rides before work. Sets the tone for the day for me. Far better then showing up pissy because of whats ahead of me that day.
Eric 23 May 2016 at 18:40